There is an urgent and recognised need to take action in order to limit the global mean surface temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. However, the current mitigation ambitions of the signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement remain insufficient to ensure we remain within that target.

For this reason, calls to consider ocean–climate action are accelerating, highlighting ocean-based action as a key opportunity to assist countries to meet and enhance their climate ambition.

The ocean houses 20 times more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial plants combined, and absorbs approximately one-third of human-generated carbon dioxide and 93 per cent of anthropogenic heat. These interactions highlight the strong links between the atmosphere and the ocean, and the need for policy to reflect this relationship.

The ocean–climate nexus recognises that while the ocean is vulnerable to impacts from increased greenhouse gases(GHG) in the atmosphere, it is also a key source of mitigation potential. Indonesia’s coastal and ocean areas offer significant climate mitigation potential, drawing attention to the inclusion of ocean-based action in their forthcoming ‘Second NDC’ (nationally determined contribution), due in 2025.

Recognising ocean–climate interrelatedness is the first step towards a sustainable blue economy that fosters biodiversity, culture, income generation and industry, conservation and innovation, as well as climate mitigation.

In order to include ocean-based climate action into Indonesia’s ‘Second NDC’, this report investigates three sectors:

  1. blue carbon nature-based solutions
  2. maritime industry and infrastructure
  3. offshore renewable energy

These sectors demonstrate substantial potential for coastal and marine resources to contribute to Paris Agreement-aligned climate mitigation goals. If implemented in addition to the onshore mitigation plans that are specified in the Government of Indonesia’s official ‘Transition scenario’, ocean-based mitigation could close the gap between this scenario and the more ambitious Paris-aligned ‘Low carbon compatible scenario’. Our analysis shows this gap could be closed by 19 per cent in 2030 and 49 per cent in 2050, recognising the significant contribution of ocean-based mitigation to Indonesia’s goal of reaching net zero by 2060.

*Note: The Government of Indonesia’s current policies scenario and transition scenario have been adjusted to include emissions from seagrass degradation. Transition scenario is considered to include 8.9 MtCO2e of mitigation from mangroves in both 2030 and 2050.

The inclusion of ocean-based mitigation action in Indonesia’s ‘Second NDC’ will strengthen the country’s commitment to the maritime sector and enhance its efforts towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. This report found that oceanbased mitigation can deliver the following impacts:

  • Mangroves, seagrass: The inclusion of seagrasses into NDC monitoring and reporting frameworks and the establishment of protection targets will reduce their degradation and destruction and has the potential to mitigate 17–60 MtCO2e per year by 2030. This adds to the already 32–41 MtCO2e of emissions mitigation per year projected for mangroves by 2030.
  • Domestic shipping and ports, domestic maritime passenger transport: The domestic maritime transport and shipping sector could mitigate 2.1–2.8 MtCO2e per year by 2030.
  • OTEC, wind energy, tidal energy, wave energy: Deployment of a mix of four offshore energy technologies – wave, tidal, offshore wind and ocean thermal energy conversion– could mitigate 0.83 MtCO2e per year by 2030 with rapid acceleration to 2050.
  • Seabed disturbance: The global seabed remains widely underexplored and unregulated, which means that seabed disturbance could potentially lead to the unaccounted release of a significant amount of carbon stored in the ocean seafloor.

Alongside climate mitigation, blue ecosystems hold the potential to reduce inequalities for minority groups and populations. Ocean-based activities like sustainable seaweed farming may enable livelihood diversification, alternative income generation and gender empowerment.

A more ambitious ‘Second NDC’ could also provide guidelines to enhance resilience, implement sustainable practices in industries and preserve the health of the ocean that forms the lifeblood of countless coastal communities. By aligning on-the-ground actions with the NDCs, Indonesia can foster sustainable development, ensure the well-being of its people, and safeguard the future of their diverse and precious marine resources.

The opportunity: Indonesia’s annual emissions mitigation potential by 2030 and 2050

Indonesia’s blue ecosystems and ocean-based sectors hold the potential to close the gap towards net zero, with blue carbon ecosystems and offshore renewable energy presenting key opportunities for net zero aligned pathways.

The report identifies total domestic annual emissions mitigation potential of 51-105 MtCO2e/year in 2030 and 136-627 MtCO2e/year by 2050.

A table of each sector’s contribution to this total is included in the Summary report.

This report assesses the mitigation potential of coastal and ocean areas and their contribution to Indonesia’s ‘Second NDC’, and suggests mechanisms for including the ocean in the forthcoming NDC. In addition to examining mitigation potential, it also provides details of key relevance to decision makers such as enabling and economic factors, scientific gaps and the likely flow-on effects.

The summary report was prepared by Climateworks Centre to demonstrate the value and impact of Indonesia’s ocean-based climate mitigation. The findings presented in this report are the result of the Southeast Asia Framework for Ocean Action in Mitigation (SEAFOAM) project.

The report aims to contribute to the conversation on ocean-based climate mitigation and provide insights on the interplay between climate action, ocean protection and the broader sustainable development goals.

More details on the research and findings are available in the SEAFOAM Phase 1 Technical Report.